A woman who stole $250,000 from a kura and used some of it to fund her gambling habit has been sentenced to 10 months’ home detention and 150 hours of community work.

Kim Symes, 51, was sentenced in the Manukau District Court, after earlier pleading guilty to six charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office.

Symes was employed by Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o te Tonga o Hokianga as a support staff administrator for 11 years, until July 2017.

She was responsible for ensuring the school’s expenditure was supported by purchase order forms, receipts or other documentation, and that it was accurately coded in the financial accounts.

SFO director Julie Read said Symes’ offending involved a “significant breach of trust” that resulted in government-funded education resources being diverted away from the kura’s students.

“Symes stole public funds to support her lifestyle, which included a gambling habit,” Ms Read said.



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